International Maritime Security Law

Author(s)                 James Kraska, Raul Pedrozo
Publisher Martinus Nijhoff Publishers
Date 2013
Pages 939
Format pdf
Size 3.5 Mb

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   There is no uniform or universally accepted definition of "maritime security," but we regard it as a stable order of the oceans subject to the rule of law at sea. Threats to international maritime security include maritime piracy and ship hijacking, use of the sea by terrorists, smugglers of illicit cargo, human traffickers, international criminal and extremist organizations, low-intensity or irregular maritime militia, and sometimes even conventional naval forces employing asymmetric tactics or operating in tandem with other governmental or nongovernmental organizations. Threats to the maritime domain also include intentional and unlawful damage to the marine environment, intentional or illegal dumping and vessel discharge of pollutants, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, as well as more attenuated threats, such as the spread of infectious disease, and accidental marine environmental degradation. In this volume, these "softer" or non-violent threats are dealt with only as they relate to the more violent threats mentioned above. The lines between law enforcement and military operations first blurred in 1989 when, the U.S. military was flush with the capability purchased during a decade of defense buildup right at the point that the threat of the Soviet Union evaporated. The United States began to employ surplus Department of Defense warships, aircraft, and other military capabilities in a "war" on illegal drugs. The emergence of Al Qaeda in the 1990s and the spectacular strikes against the United States by agents of that organization on September 11, 2001, thrust into the public consciousness and political and legal dialogue the question of how we should think about contemporary terrorism within the old models of war and peace. More than a decade later debates over whether counter-terrorism is best described as a law enforcement endeavor or the conduct of armed conflict still bedevils virtually all efforts to suppress it. Meanwhile, barriers to international travel and trade have fallen, leading to a rapid expansion of the vast global maritime network. Just as the cultural, political, and economic phenomena that generated globalization have contributed to instability on land, they have also affected stability and the rule of law at sea. The superpower competition from 1945-1989 contained internecine conflicts on land, while American and Soviet fleets imposed order at sea. Western European navies provided a powerful supplement to the U.S. Navy. Today, the Russian fleet and European navies have atrophied; the U.S. Navy is half the size it was during the 1980s. At the same time, while the bipolar balance of terror is thankfully an historic relic, lower order maritime threats have multiplied and give rise to a new breed of maritime security operations.

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